Surinder Arora is rekindling his rival bid to build a new terminal at Heathrow
Hotels tycoon Surinder Arora wants to build a rival terminal at Heathrow. He is understood to have held talks with the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority about his plans to a new terminal, that might be dedicated (or may not) to Virgin Atlantic, Air France and Delta flights, on Heathrow-owned land. Mr Arora wants to expand Heathrow’s capacity using the new terminal by up to 18 mppa more, without building a new runway – so there would be more planes on the existing runways. Heathrow airport has plans for a third runway, that have been held up for years and look increasingly unlikely after the financial losses caused by the Covid pandemic, and the change in flying behaviour of many companies and individuals. There are also serious climate concerns, so no government should allow airport expansion when aviation carbon emissions are meant to be reducing.
Ex-baggage handler revives bid to rival Heathrow’s third runway
Billionaire who used to work for Heathrow wants to build a new terminal on land owned by the airport
By Oliver Gill, CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (Telegraph)
27 March 2022
Hotels tycoon Surinder Arora is rekindling his bid to build a rival terminal at Heathrow as ministers delay a final decision on the building of the airport’s third runway.
Mr Arora, a former Heathrow airport baggage handler who is now worth an estimated £1.2bn, is understood to have held talks with the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority regarding his plans.
Mr Arora, 63, wants to build a new terminal on Heathrow-owned land. Industry sources said that one option was for the terminal
to be dedicated for Virgin Atlantic, Air France and Delta flights.
But a source close to the billionaire insisted that the terminal would not be limited to specific airlines at this time.
The Arora Group originally planned a new terminal at Heathrow as part of a rival expansion scheme costing £14bn that would negate the need for a third runway.
The proposals, which aimed to increase Heathrow’s capacity by up to 40m passengers a year, were shelved after the pandemic hit.
The new plans being discussed with the Government and regulators are understood to envisage a smaller terminal that will service an extra 18m passengers annually. Representatives for Mr Arora declined to comment.
Getting the go-ahead from Heathrow to build a new terminal on its land is likely to be fraught with complications – not least because airport bosses still want to go ahead with their own expansion plans.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye claims the pandemic has strengthened the case for a third runway.
Despite passenger numbers falling to 17.2m in 2021, their lowest level since 1972, the crisis had shown “pent-up demand from airlines to fly from Heathrow”, the airport said last month.
The Government’s decision to give Heathrow the green light on its expansion plans in 2018 has been held up by legal challenges and the fallout of Covid restrictions.
The Supreme Court ruled that the expansion was lawful, overturning a Court of Appeal decision that found the Government had not complied with its climate change commitments.
Ministers are expected to issue a revised “airports national policy statement” before any expansion at Heathrow can go ahead.
Earlier this month, Robert Courts, the aviation minister, said that he would not review the statement until the Government’s jet zero strategy to decarbonise aviation is completed.
“The jet zero strategy provides the opportunity to spread cleaner, greener air travel across all parts of the UK,” Mr Courts said.
Rival Heathrow expansion consortium, Arora, upbeat as Government opens door to competition
The Telegraph reports that the government has said it welcomes competition in the construction of the nation’s airports. Hotel owner Surinder Arora had earlier this year proposed a cheaper way to build a Heathrow 3rd runway, cutting about £5 billion off the price. Government documents related to the expansion had previously assumed Heathrow would be in charge of the construction project and choose which contractors it wanted to help it fulfil the scheme. But the DfT says in the revised consultation on its Airports NPS (National Policy Statement) that it would welcome competing bids for the work. The NPS consultation says: “For the avoidance of doubt, the Airports NPS does not identify any statutory undertaker as the appropriate person or appropriate persons to carry out the preferred scheme.” And there could be “more than one application for development consent, dealing with different components individually”. The Telegraph believes a key difference, if a body other than Heathrow did the building, would be that the party behind the construction would receive the associated income it generates from passenger and airline charges, as well as retail rental payments. But there could be more risks, more costs etc.
Airport hotel tycoon, Surinder Arora, wants Heathrow runway built soon – but a bit cheaper
A wealthy hotel tycoon, Surinder Arora, has submitted plans for a 3rd Heathrow. He has been a long time backer of a runway, and says his plan would be £5 billion cheaper than what Heathrow is offering (costing £17.5 billion). He has put his proposal to the government’s public consultation on Heathrow (the NPS consultation actually closed on 25th May.) Heathrow has been trying to find ways to make their runway + terminal scheme cheaper, as the airlines are not keen on paying the higher charges that would be needed. Ticket prices would rise. (ie. lower airline profit). The Arora Group’s proposals include altering the design of terminal buildings and taxiways, and reducing the amount of land to be built on. They know the alterations to roads, including the M25 and the junction of the M25 and the M4, are massive problems and “threaten deliverability” of the runway project. They therefore want to “shift the runway”. Where to? All this shows how very uncertain the runway plan has become, and the immense doubts – especially on money. Heathrow said they would welcome views on various options “in the public consultation later this year.” The plans must first be assessed by the Commons transport committee, be amended by the DfT and then voted on in Parliament …. it is not a quick process.